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Meet Sally, our newly graduated Nursing Associate

Sally Reed reflects on what it is like to be Hospiscare's first ever Nursing Associate

One year ago in the spring edition of our Together newsletter, we wrote about Sally Reed, Hospiscare’s first ever Trainee Nursing Associate.

When we last spoke to Sally, she was at the half-way point in her training with Hospiscare in partnership with the University of Plymouth. From this point, Sally embarked upon a four-month placement at the Royal Devon & Exeter (RD&E) Hospital. Her mental health placement with the Devon Partnership Trust followed this but unfortunately came to an end sooner than planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sally required these broad work experiences in order to complete her training in adult nursing.

A Hospiscare nurse holding a graduation certificate

Sally returned to Hospiscare and spent two months working in the Clinical Co-ordination Centre, the nursing-run hub set up in response to COVID-19. Her final placement on our ward brought her full circle to where she began her training. Sally reflects on her final year of training, saying “My placements at the RD&E were quite challenging. I learned a lot and I particularly enjoyed my placement in oncology as it was very relevant to the work I will be doing at Hospiscare.”

During her placement at the RD&E, Sally recalls a memorable experience with a patient: “I nursed a patient on the oncology ward that I had met at Hospiscare. This gentleman attended day hospice regularly and I really got to know him during my time there.

“When he arrived on the oncology ward, he wasn’t able to communicate, but I had built a relationship with him previously and this really helped me to understand his needs and care for him in his final days. It was a great privilege.”

At such a difficult time for our healthcare sector and for our charity, Sally passed all requirements of the Trainee Nursing Associate apprenticeship and received fantastic feedback from her academic assessor: “The importance of excellent quality patient care is seen throughout your reflections. Your confidence in your own ability has rightly continued to grow throughout the programme. You will make an excellent role model for colleagues and learners alike.”

Sally reflects on the incredible feedback that she received, saying

“I did feel really proud when I read the feedback. It has been a tough course and I am so proud of my achievement. I am particularly proud of the comments made by my assessor. To have been recognised in this way means a lot to me.”

Sally is currently transitioning into her new role at Hospiscare and is looking forward to consolidating her learning, as well as being able to take full responsibility for her patients and see their care through from beginning to end.

Although Sally’s formal graduation ceremony has been indefinitely postponed due to COVID-19, her main disappointment is not being able to celebrate her achievement with her fellow course-mates. Sally says, “For me personally, I know what I have achieved and I don’t feel I need the graduation ceremony to affirm this.”

The two-year apprenticeship has certainly been challenging for Sally but she has no regrets. With the invaluable support of her family and closest friends, as well as those within Hospiscare who have supported and encouraged her, Sally has achieved the role she has always wanted. Sally concludes,

“I’m really grateful to have been able to do this apprenticeship. It is exciting to be the first person to have this new role at Hospsicare and it will be interesting to see how the role will move forward and develop.”